The Lodger (1926)

This is a Hitchcock film and it even has an appearance by the man himself to make its point.

I have seen this before but I was happily watching this with the lodger as villain until it finally occurred to me how unlikely that actually was. I thought the older actors were splendid particularly Marie Ault as the mother. Malcolm Keen lacked charm but even if he had been nice there is no way he could compete with the beautiful Ivor Novello. Some women back then really did like them the opposite of rugged. I can’t bring myself to criticise acting and make up styles from 90 years ago. We happily accept Chinese opera or Kabuki without rolling our eyes at its outdated style so I don’t mind Novello wearing as much make up as June.

It is rightly lauded as making use of pure cinema techniques such as using a transparent floor to show the lodger’s pacing but there are also clever bits like showing the light fittings swaying to illustrate the same idea – you can practically hear him. It was also beautifully designed with lovely tinting and (I wish they were in colour) intertitle designs by E. McKnight Kauffer.

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The only thing I don’t like is the square in which several scenes were shot which was so unrealistic that it looked just like a stage set.

Alma fact: another assistant director credit (was this a normal credit for the time or was it a special one for the work she put in?)
Appearance by a cat or dog: two cats
Trains: none
Source: Alfred Hitchcock – The Early Years DVD (Concorde Video)

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The Pleasure Garden (1925)

This film was made in Germany, it started off in Britain, and the two female leads were Americans. And I love this point about silent films, the actors’ nationality or accent makes no difference at all to my perception of them. I liked the two leading ladies even though the copy we watched (via YouTube) was in dreadful condition and for most of the time you couldn’t see their features properly. To be honest, we were a little confused between the two which wouldn’t have happened if one of them had been blonde. Miles Mander must be the skinniest leading man in cinema ever and certainly one of the caddiest of all cads.

It was funny, the dog was delightful, but I can’t really see any sign that this is a Hitchcock film. There are no signs of incipient genius at work. It’s just a decent melodrama and that is no bad thing.

The Alfred Hitchcock Wiki link

Alma* fact: Alma Reville was credited as assistant director
Appearance by a cat or dog: one dog
Trains: none
Source: Raymond Rohauer collection via YouTube

*One of my middle names is Alma.

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Blogging Hitchcock

02_03I love the films of Alfred Hitchcock. I have over the years seen practically all of his extant feature films with only a handful of pre-1934 missing from my list. Andy and I recently bought a box-set of his silent films to go with the many that we already have and I had the brainwave of suggesting that we blog as many of his films as we can in chronological order.

I’m not promising in-depth analysis just a few ramblings. And I will be using The Alfred Hitchcock Wiki as a source of a lot of my information starting with this list of films.

  1. The Pleasure Garden (1925)
  2. The Mountain Eagle (1926) [but not this one]
  3. The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927)
  4. Downhill (1927)
  5. Easy Virtue (1928)
  6. The Ring (1927)
  7. The Farmer’s Wife (1928)
  8. Champagne (1928)
  9. The Manxman (1929)
  10. Blackmail (1929)
  11. Juno and the Paycock (1930)
  12. Murder! (1930)
  13. The Skin Game (1931)
  14. Rich and Strange (1931)
  15. Number Seventeen (1932)
  16. Waltzes from Vienna (1934)
  17. The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)
  18. The 39 Steps (1935)
  19. Secret Agent (1936)
  20. Sabotage (1936)
  21. Young and Innocent (1937)
  22. The Lady Vanishes (1938)
  23. Jamaica Inn (1939)
  24. Rebecca (1940)
  25. Foreign Correspondent (1940)
  26. Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941)
  27. Suspicion (1941)
  28. Saboteur (1942)
  29. Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
  30. Lifeboat (1944)
  31. Spellbound (1945)
  32. Notorious (1946)
  33. The Paradine Case (1947)
  34. Rope (1948)
  35. Under Capricorn (1949)
  36. Stage Fright (1950)
  37. Strangers on a Train (1951)
  38. I Confess (1953)
  39. Dial M for Murder (1954)
  40. Rear Window (1954)
  41. To Catch a Thief (1955)
  42. The Trouble with Harry (1955)
  43. The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
  44. The Wrong Man (1956)
  45. Vertigo (1958)
  46. North by Northwest (1959)
  47. Psycho (1960)
  48. The Birds (1963)
  49. Marnie (1964)
  50. Torn Curtain (1966)
  51. Topaz (1969)
  52. Frenzy (1972)
  53. Family Plot (1976)
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Ghost signs of Hanwell

Hanwell has several ghost signs.

These two are on the back of buildings that fronted the Uxbridge Road. They are visible from Station Road and presumably were there to encourage potential shoppers coming from the direction of the station. The buildings are now occupied by an accountant and a secondhand car showroom.

Gapp's Stores

Ormond

This one is on Boston Road and certainly made me snigger the first time I noticed it. I like that it is still a shop albeit of an entirely different kind.

Peacock the draper

I like this one. It isn’t a painted sign but it is certainly a ghostly presence. There was a Barclay’s bank on the Uxbridge Road in my memory but part of the building is now a Domino’s Pizza delivery store.

Barclay's Bank

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Waste train

I’ve lived in Hanwell for twenty years now and this was the first really good view that I’ve got of the waste trains that go and from the waste transfer station down in Brentford.

Waste train

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Brunswick Centre

After seeing 9 Lives by Dave McKean at the British Library, Andy and I decided to walk to Russell Square rather than get on the tube straight away at Kings Cross for the Piccadilly line. The late evening sunlight was beautiful and it made the upper half of the Brunswick Centre look gorgeous.

Brunswick Centre

Brunswick Centre

Brunswick Centre

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Barnes Bees

I saw this beehive behind Two Peas in a Pod on Church Road. If you look carefully you can actually see one of the bees but in actuality there was plenty of activity.

Barnes bees

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Barnes Old Cemetery

Memorial and plane

Barnes Old Cemetery is an abandoned and, hence, overgrown graveyard near the common. I was a little disappointed in its lack of romanticism but perhaps I wasn’t in the mood or the light wasn’t right.

A headless angel

Peace

Barnes Old Cemetery

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Beautiful clouds over Hanwell

Around about eight in the evening the light outside became a lovely golden colour. I went upstairs to look out my bedroom window expecting to see a rainbow but instead I saw these beautiful skies. It was raining but instead of a rainbow I saw these gorgeous contrasts between the rain clouds and the blue sky beyond.

Hanwell clouds

Hanwell clouds

Hanwell clouds

Hanwell clouds

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London Wetland Centre

Clouds over the London Wetlands Centre

Andy and I cycled to the London Wetland Centre at Barnes where the sun decided to grace us with its presence. That led to hives which I have never had before and I’m still itchy today. However, it was worth it because we saw some of the world’s most beautiful ducks, bellowing Marsh Frogs, baby lapwings and tumbling otters.

A beautiful pair of ducks

Koloa duck

Marsh frog

Asian short-clawed otter

Asian short-clawed otter

Meadows at the London Wetlands Centre

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